On Wednesday, in a significant development, Unilever Plc said by 2030 it aims to remove fossil fuels from its cleaning products and will be investing 1 billion euros to that end, including cutting down on carbon emissions created by the chemicals used in making its products.
Instead of using petrochemicals, Unilever aims to use substitute constituents created from plants and other biological and marine sources, including waste material and algae.
Currently, chemicals make up 46% of its cleaning and laundry products from its Home Care division’s carbon emissions across their lifecyle; the switch for greener alternatives will cut those emission by a fifth.
Unilever’s total greenhouse gas footprint is about 100 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents globally.
Unilever’s cleaning products are in high demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In July, the Anglo-Dutch company reported a double digit jump in Cif surface cleaners and Domestos bleach sales in the first half of 2020.
“People want more affordable sustainable products that are just as good as conventional ones,” said Peter ter Kulve, Unilever’s President of Home Care. “We must stop pumping carbon from under the ground when there is ample carbon on and above the ground if we can learn to utilise it at scale”.
Unilever has been ranked by CDP, a global non-profit carbon disclosure group, as one of only seven of 182 major companies to achieve an A rating for environment friendly governance in the three categories of climate change, water and forests.
Unilever aims to sink in 1 billion euros to finance biotechnology research and carbon dioxide utilization, and create biodegradable and water-efficient product formulations.
It plans on launching new products under its Persil brand, which will use plant-based stain removers, in the UK later this month.